1926: The Ibero-American Convention


In 1919, Spain and all the other ex-neutral governments in World War I had been invited to adhere to the Paris Convention. Spain had declined to do so, partially due to Article 34 of this Convention related to the uneven equivalency between parties. Moreover, Spain withdrew from the League of Nations in 1926, its claim for a permanent seat on its Council having been rejected.



Spain – 1926 Raid Madrid-Manila

Gallarza & Loriga’s Breguet 19A2

Following the growth of aviation activity between Spain and South-America and as a result of the failure by the USA and most Central and South American States to adhere to the Paris Convention, Spain decided to initiate a diplomatic counteraction and invited all Latin American and Caribbean States and Portugal to the Ibero-American Conference to be held in Madrid from 25 to 30 October 1926. 


At the end of a Conference, the Ibero-American Convention on Air Navigation (called Convenio Ibero Americano de Navegación Aérea, or CIANA, also called the Madrid Convention) was created. This convention differed from the Paris Convention in that it differently took account of the principle of the equal voting rights of its members (Article 34) and the right for a Contracting State to permit the flight above its territory of an aircraft that did not possess the nationality of a Contracting State (Article 5). Twenty-one European and American states from Spanish and Portuguese origins signed this Convention on 1 November 1926.


Perhaps although political reasons encouraged Spain to cause the conclusion of this Convention, it is significant that the Contracting States of the CIANA must have had the conviction that they could not propose something better than the Paris Convention. The Ibero-American Air Convention was modelled after the Paris Convention and its wording was virtually identical in most of the articles; only the offensive articles of the Paris Convention were significantly amended to assure the equality of States and eliminate any discriminatory implications concerning the States.


Ultimately, this Convention had a limited impact because of the restricted number of ratifications that it received; whereas 21 States (Spain, Portugal and 19 Latin American countries) attended the Madrid Conference, only 7 States (Argentina, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Spain and Paraguay) deposited their instruments of ratification. Moreover, when the Havana Convention emerged in 1926, it was said that there was no longer need for a second alternative to the Paris Convention, as the 1926 Madrid Convention largely mirrored the text and annexes of the 1919 Paris Convention. Argentina and Spain renounced the Convention by 1933 and joined the ICAN; the Madrid Convention never came into force. It was no more than the result of political posturing of Spain trying to assert leadership in Latin America.


The Madrid Convention was never registered with any international body and was completely ignored in the Chicago Convention. Its lack of success was due to three factors:

1. Aircraft of the period were not sufficiently developed to tie together Iberia and Latin America;

2. Spain’s political environment during the period was very unsettled, deteriorating into Civil War;

3. A few years after the Madrid Convention, Latin American energies focused on North America away from Iberia.